A blend of winter and spring sport athletes filled the back end of Giavanni’s Pizzeria in Orcutt on Monday for the latest Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table.
As some winter athletes were recognized for making CIF Southern Section and state playoff runs, other school coaches and athletic directors brought along spring sport athletes whom they feel will make an impact in their sport this season.
The Round Table didn’t meet last Monday due to President’s Day, but two athletes were recognized for their weekly accomplishments during the week of Feb. 19: Lompoc High boys basketball player Jordan Tyler and Hancock College track and field athlete Haleigh Batty.
For Tyler, who had a huge block with approximately 10 seconds to go in the 53-51 upset of San Bernardino Aquinas to advance in the CIF-SS Division 4A playoffs, it was his first time winning Male Athlete of the Week honors from the Round Table.
“It feels good to win this award,” Tyler said. “It feels good to not only be honored but I’m trying to stay as humble as possible. That was a tough game and I had a little doubt on my mind. But my coach (Paul Terrones) told me after the timeout that defense is going to win this game. And with 10 seconds left, they told me they were going to need a big defensive play. Once I saw that opportunity, I got the block.”
Batty, who starred for the Cabrillo track team last year, was honored for winning two straight long jump events to start her first season at the college level.
The week of Feb. 26 winners were both on hand, as Righetti 170-pound wrestler Isaaya Finley and Hancock softball pitcher Bailey Killough accepted their awards.
Finley was recognized for clinching his spot in the CIF State Finals at Bakersfield from March 2-3 after winning CIF Southern Section and CIF-SS Masters titles.
“The award is cool, but I’ve got another step in the journey,” Finley said, referring to his pursuit of a state title now after collecting the section 170-pound title in Temecula during the weekend of Feb. 24. “The main focus this week is grinding and getting to that point (a state title).”
Killough won the Female Athlete of the Week honor after smashing nine hits, 11 RBIs, scoring 11 runs and blasting one home run last week during three Bulldog victories – games that saw AHC outscore its opponents 62-12.
Lompoc Unified board member Dick Barrett took the stage first – gleaming about the effort of the boys basketball team, which advanced all the way to the CIF-SS D4 semifinals before falling to Riverside Carnegie 62-44 last Friday.
Barrett had Tyler on hand. He also introduced spring athletes Justin Allen (baseball), Casidy Cunningham (track) and Alana Elizondo (softball).
The Spartans had one of the deeper lineups at the Round Table, as athletic director Chad McKenzie and track coach James Barr brought out a softball and track contingent at the weekly luncheon.
Spartans softball had Shelby Moehler, Cielo Ruvalcalba, and Daisy Esparza. Track and field was represented by Alexis Bettancourt, Emily Greene, Marren Van Dellen, Eric Lopez and Isaac Barr.
Warriors wrestling coach Todd Noel brought out his wrestler Finley to the Round Table – talking about Finley’s effort down in Temecula for the CIF-SS Masters title in his weight class.
Athletic director Greg Lanthier was one of the ADs who spoke about his school now transitioning over to the spring sports season now that the winter session for PVHS has passed.
Taylor Burns of Panthers track and field was on hand along with volleyball players Angel Gonzalez and Armando Tamayo.
Valley Christian Academy
The Lions saw the Round Table debut of new softball head coach Kasey Kussler, who spoke on behalf of her team. Kussler introduced her players Dominique Navarrete and Kyra Tullos.
Athletic director Pete Fortier and Randy Stanford were also in attendance for VCA.
The Knights softball team took the stage together – as head coach John Welch brought along Ally Dias and Paige Hugenard to stand alongside him.
Boys volleyball head coach Jessie Borchin then took the stage next and introduced her players Justin Wong and Jack Blackburn.
The Bulldogs, like Orcutt Academy, went with a deep softball and track lineup at the luncheon.
Softball assistant Jason Contreras introduced his players Killough, Crystal Gonzalez, Hannah Diaz and Nikole Cody. Batty, Nate Tulloch and Destiny Goggins represented the track and field team, as assistant Nick Puckett introduced his trio.
Not present at the luncheon were Santa Maria, Cabrillo and Santa Ynez.